The aim of this conference is to explore the contribution of businesses and banks to the debates about Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) from the 1960s to the 1990s.
While there is an increasing number of studies on business and European integration, the role and involvement of businesses in the making of EMU remain little researched. Business history mostly focuses on business attitudes to European integration in general, as well as businesses’ reaction to European integration and the adaptation of corporate strategies. Most studies look at the history of the Single Market neglecting economic and monetary coordination.
This conference overcomes the division for business and financial history by including banks in the umbrella term of ‘business’. In case of the EMU, banks relevance was critical. First, they had an obvious interest in monetary affairs in the EEC/EU for the conduct of their business activities. Second, policymakers considered that EMU necessitated a high degree of financial integration for a proper functioning, which implied an increase in the cross-border activities of banks and other financial services. Third, banks were, like other companies in the EEC/EU, very active in trying to influence the Commission and European policymakers in order to shape European integration to their perceived interests.
The conference thus proposes to further connect business and financial history with European integration history. Were businesses and banks supportive, indifferent to, or against EMU, and why? Did they share the same attitudes, concerns, and objectives? What was their actual contribution to policy discussions, and did they participate through lobbying broadly speaking, or the co-production of norms? How did they try to coordinate their views to increase their influence? Did they push for proposals that were alternative to those being designed among governments? And what challenges does the influence of businesses and banks raise in terms of democratic legitimacy? Answers to these questions are likely to reveal just how diverse, complex, and multi-faceted the debates were around economic and monetary integration in Europe. They equally open new lines of economic historical research on the power of non-state actors to shape intergovernmental macro-economic coordination.
We are particularly interested in contributions looking at:
- case studies on individual businesses and banks,
- broader approaches addressing one country,
- studies on business and banking associations and groupings,
- analyses focusing on specific sub-sectors of business (industry, services, small and medium-sized enterprises, multinationals) and banking (cooperative banks, investment banks, commercial banks, small- or medium-sized banks), or other financial institutions (insurance and stock exchanges, for instance)
- comparative approaches across states and sectors
- the *absence* of specific reflections on EMU (or the misperception, misconception of what EMU entails),
- dialogue of businesses and banks with the EEC institutions and national governments,
- contextualisation of EMU in business perceptions of European integration: to what extent was EMU on the agenda, and if not, what topics were? Where did EMU fit in business and banks perceptions of the European project?
- the view of business and banks elsewhere in the world (criticism against ‘Fortress Europe’)
The conference focuses on a period running from the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 until the decision to create an EMU in 1991 with the Treaty of Maastricht in 1991. Contributions can focus on shorter, more specific periods, in particular the 1980s, or span this entire time frame.
The conference will take place on 25-26 April 2022. We hope to hold it in person in Glasgow, but if the coronavirus-related restrictions are too onerous for the participants, we will revert to a hybrid format.
Eligibility and how to apply:
PhD students, early career researchers, and confirmed researchers are invited to submit proposals. We encourage submissions on any aspect of business.
Applicants should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words outlining their proposal, and a short CV by 15 December 2021 to EURECON Project Administrator Diana Mardare, firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning ‘Business and EMU Conference’ in the headline. Selected applicants will be informed by early January 2022.
Please note that should your institution be unable to do so, there are limited funds available to support your accommodation and travel expenses.
For further information please contact the EURECON Project’s administrator Diana Mardare: email@example.com.
Dr Alexis Drach (University of Paris VIII)
Dr Aleksandra Komornicka (University of Glasgow)
Professor Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (University of Glasgow)
Professor Neil Rollings (University of Glasgow)
The conference is initiated by the ERC funded research project EURECON: The Making of a Lopsided Union: Economic Integration in the European Economic Community, 1957-1992 led by Professor Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (grant agreement No 716849).